By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, NCPWD, Mr. James David Lalu has said that his Commission will need the support and the expertise of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, to help in reviewing the Accessibility Minimum Standard document on the areas of transportation for Persons with Disabilities.
Lalu said this during a friendly visit to the Management of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, Abuja on Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting, Lalu pointed out that the Council has been identified as one of the ideal associates in the efforts to providing accessibility to PWDs.
“And that is why we are willing to share the over 200 page Document on Accessibility Minimum Standard developed by the Commission with major stakeholders like your organisation for onward review and adoption before it goes to the press”
He said that buses and other vehicles used for transportation in Nigeria are not easily accessed by PWDs, especially persons on wheelchair.
The Executive Secretary stated that most of the women on wheelchair feel abused when strange men take advantage of their situations to touch them inappropriately in the guise of helping them to fit into vehicles.
He further appealed that a more accessible designs of these transportation vehicles by the Organisation could be more purposeful for PWDs.
Lalu also said that the Commission will like to have a focal personnel from the Council to be working with the Accessibility Department of the Commission for a more profitable partnership.
He, however, revealed that the Chairman of the Board of the Council, Senator Osita Izunazo has been a friend of the Commission and a Patron of PWDs.
“He was part of those that passed the Bill that gave birth to the Act and the eventual establishment of the Commission and as such the Commission and your Organisation are already partners in business” he said.
In his response, the Director General NADDC, Dr. Jelani Aliu stated that the Council is favoured with the friendship with the Commission and hoped that such partnership would add value to Nigerians and PWDs.
The DG also said that the Council will be open to reviewing the Accessibility Document and make its inputs for a more robust Accessibility Standard for Persons with Disabilities.
He further stated that the Council will try to collaborate with necessary stakeholders in order to provide suitable automatic wheelchairs and vehicles that will enhance accessibility for PWDs and for their transportation solution.